Athlete close day one of Bearded Theory 2011

Band tell VF they're planning an acoustic tour

Athlete close day one of Bearded Theory 2011

Photographer: Shirlaine ForrestJohn Bownas on 14 May 2011

Athlete closed the main stage at Bearded Theory 2011 to a crowd that made up for what it lacked in numbers with at least a healthy dose of enthusiasm.

Reports from the box office of a late surge in the sale of day tickets for the Friday night meant that there were obviously a lot of people here specifically to see the band.

This might be because the band are very frank about the fact that they are not planning to do much this year.

Speaking to VF shortly before going on stage, they were clearly looking forward to the show but admitted that apart from a handful of other festivals they have no recording in the pipeline - although there will be an acoustic tour later in the year.

An Athlete greatest hits set is always surprisingly satistlfying. People often forget some of the band's more minor hits, but that doesn't mean that they are not up there in quality with openers like 'El Salvador' and 'Hurricane'.

The only problem with less well known songs is that people sometime sdon't know when they are over - leaving it down to Joell Pott to give the crowd a cue to applaud at the end of more than one number.

On reflection, given the weather and Bearded Theory's infamous tornadostrike incident, the band might have thought about dropping 'Hurricane' from the set list. There is always a fear that you mightbe tempting fate.

But the heavens behaved themselves on this occasion and although the temperature was falling sharply by the closing notes of 'Wires', the crowd were suitably warmed by the personal touch that this song conjoured up.

The Waterboys '>The Waterboys play the headline slot tonight (Saturday 14) at Bearded Theory 2011 before Alabama 3 close the festival tomorrow night (Sunday 15).

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